May 21, 2024

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Frozen Chicken Thighs in Air Fryer

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Enjoy flavorful frozen chicken thighs in air fryer in as little as 25 minutes with this simple air fryer cooking method. The air fryer frozen chicken thighs will be juicy on the inside with crispy chicken skin on the outside–no defrosting necessary.

Suitable for Whole30, gluten free, Keto, Paleo and low carb diets. Post includes Weight Watchers points.

Post may contain affiliate links. For more information, check my disclosure

top down view of the completed frozen chicken thighs in air fryer basket

We’ve all been there. Dinner is upon us, and we’ve forgotten to take the meat out of the freezer. Fortunately, all hope is not lost, and you can have a healthy and delicious dinner on the table in under 30 minutes when you cook frozen chicken thighs in air fryer. 

Chicken thighs are often underappreciated, but dark meat chicken thighs are so flavorful they have quickly replaced chicken breast as my favorite cut of chicken. Plus, chicken thighs are easy to store in the freezer, and air fryer chicken thighs are scrumptious. 

Air fryer frozen chicken thighs are shockingly simple to make. In less than 30 minutes, you’ll be feasting on juicy dark meat chicken thighs with incredibly crunchy chicken skin. Air fryer chicken thighs are cheaper and more flavorful than chicken breast and so easy to make. This is one of the best air fryer chicken recipes. 

Frozen chicken thighs in air fryer served on a white plate

Why Make This Recipe

  • Fast – Cook frozen chicken thighs in air fryer in less than 30 minutes. 
  • Perfect for Guests – Don’t fret when unexpected guests show up for dinner; just pull a few extra frozen chicken thighs out of the freezer and make this simple air fryer recipe.
  • Budget-Friendly – Chicken thighs are an affordable cut of meat, and frozen chicken thighs are perfect for saving time and money. 

Ingredient Notes

  • Frozen Chicken Thighs – Use bone in, skin on frozen chicken thighs. 
  • BBQ Sauce – Select your favorite BBQ sauce, selecting a diet-friendly sauce to meet your individual needs. 
a bowl filled with bbq sauce with a brush dipped in

Ready to make Air Fried Frozen Chicken Thighs? Gather your ingredients, and I will show you…

How To Cook Frozen Chicken Thighs in Air Fryer

Get the complete ingredients list and instructions from the recipe card below.

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 350 degrees F / 180 degrees C.
  2. Lightly spray the air fryer basket with cooking oil. 
  3. Add the frozen chicken thighs and cook for about 25 minutes, depending on size, until the frozen chicken thighs reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F / 74 degrees C. 
  4. Brush chicken thighs with BBQ sauce and cook for 2 more minutes.
  5. Serve the chicken thighs immediately.
image collage showing steps for making frozen chicken thighs in air fryer

Note: Always check chicken thighs for doneness with a meat thermometer. The internal temperature should be 165 degrees F / 74 degrees C when inserted into the thickest part of the chicken thighs.

Expert Tips

  • To ensure that this recipe meets your dietary needs, select a diet-friendly BBQ sauce
  • The frozen chicken thighs should be separated. If your chicken thighs are in a clump, run the frozen chicken thighs under cold water just until they separate. You do not need to that the frozen chicken thighs. 
  • Cooking times are meant to be a guide. Make adjustments as needed depending on the size of your frozen chicken thighs. Cook frozen chicken thighs for 30 minutes or more if they are on the larger side. 
  • Lightly spray the air fryer basket with olive oil before adding the chicken thighs.
  • Leave space between the frozen chicken thighs in the air fryer basket so the hot air can circulate and cook the frozen chicken thighs evenly. 
  • Don’t overcrowd the air fryer basket. Cook chicken thighs in batches if necessary.
  • Always check for doneness with a meat thermometer. The temperature should be 165 degrees F / 74 degrees C when inserted into the thickest part of the chicken.
  • Once the chicken thighs have reached the appropriate temperature, brush the chicken with BBQ sauce and return it to the air fryer basket for a few minutes to set the sauce. 
  • Boneless chicken thighs will cook faster, so you will need to adjust the time of cooking boneless chicken thighs.
top down view of the completed frozen chicken thighs in air fryer basket

Delicious Variations

  • Skip The BBQ Sauce – Brush the chicken with a thin layer of olive oil and season with Italian seasoning, garlic powder, lemon pepper, salt and pepper, or your favorite seasoning blend, as desired. You can also use other sauces and marinades. 

Prep And Storage

  • Prep Ahead – Separate the raw frozen chicken thighs by running them under cold water. There is no need to thaw chicken before air frying.
  • Store – Store leftover air fryer frozen chicken thighs in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.  
  • Freeze – Freeze leftover chicken for up to 3 months. 
close up view of 3 frozen chicken thighs in air fryer basket

FAQs

How Long To Cook Frozen Chicken Thighs In Air Fryer?

This frozen chicken thighs recipe will need to air fry for about 25-30 minutes, depending on the size of the thighs. Flip halfway through air frying chicken thighs and check the temperature at the 20-minute mark.

Can I Cook Frozen Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs In Air Fryer?

You can follow the same method outlined in this air fryer recipe to cook frozen boneless skinless chicken thighs. Boneless thighs may cook through a little quicker, so I recommend you begin checking the internal temperature at the 18-minute mark.

the finished frozen chicken thighs in air fryer served on a white plate

More Recipes You May Like

Serving Suggestions

Weight Watchers Points

There are 7 Blue Plan SmartPoints in one serving of this.

Thank you for reading my cooking frozen chicken thighs in air fryer recipe post. And please come visit again as I continue to slice, dice, and dream up affordable Air Fryer recipes, Instant Pot Recipes, Southern Recipes, and more. Thanks for supporting Recipes from a Pantry, food blog. 

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top down view of the completed frozen chicken thighs in air fryer basket

Print Recipe

Frozen Chicken Thighs in Air Fryer

Prep Time5 mins

Cook Time25 mins

Total Time30 mins

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: American

Diet: Gluten Free

Servings: 6

Calories: 344kcal

Instructions

  • Preheat the air fryer to 350 degrees F / 180 degrees C.

  • Lightly spray the air fryer basket with cooking oil.

  • Add the frozen chicken thighs and cook for about 25 minutes depending on size until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F / 74 degrees C.

  • Brush chicken with BBQ sauce and cook for 2 more minutes.

  • Let the chicken rest for several minutes before serving.

**AIR FRYER RECIPE BINDER Bundle**Get your Air Fryer Recipe Binder and Ebook to keep all your recipes and tips organized in one place.

Notes

  • To ensure that this recipe meets your dietary needs select a diet-friendly BBQ sauce. 
  • The frozen chicken thighs should be separated. If your chicken thighs are in a clump, run the frozen chicken thighs under cold water just until they separate. You do not need to that the frozen chicken thighs. 
  • Cooking times are meant to be a guide. Make adjustments as needed depending on the size of your frozen chicken thighs. Cook frozen chicken thighs for 30 minutes or more if they are on the larger side. 
  • Lightly spray the air fryer basket with olive oil before adding the chicken thighs.
  • Leave space between the frozen chicken thighs in the air fryer basket so the hot air can circulate and cook the frozen chicken thighs evenly. 
  • Don’t overcrowd the air fryer basket. Cook chicken thighs in batches if necessary.
  • Always check for doneness with a meat thermometer. The temperature should be 165 degrees F / 74 degrees C when inserted into the thickest part of the chicken.
  • Once the chicken thighs have reached the appropriate temperature, brush the chicken with BBQ sauce and return it to the air fryer basket for a few minutes to set the sauce. 
  • Boneless chicken thighs will cook faster, so you will need to adjust the time of cooking boneless chicken thighs.
  • There are 7 WW Blue Plan SmartPoints in one serving of this.

Nutrition

Calories: 344kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 142mg | Sodium: 275mg | Potassium: 333mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 148IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 1mg



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